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NBA hits Mavericks owner Cuban with $500K fine, denies protest

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Agence France-Presse

The NBA fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $500,000 on Friday for a Twitter tirade ripping league referees and commissioner Adam Silver denied the club’s protest of a February 22 loss in Atlanta.

Cuban, a billionaire businessman who bought the Mavericks in 2000, was slammed with the hefty fine for his criticism and conduct detrimental to NBA officiating, also described in a league statement as an “effort to influence refereeing decisions during and after a game.”

Atlanta defeated Dallas 111-107 and the result will stand after the league rejected the Mavericks’ plea to replay the final 9.7 seconds.

A controversial basket by Atlanta’s John Collins on an offensive rebound was the subject of the complaint, the hoop coming as the Mavericks’ Dorian Finney-Smith was whistled for goaltending on his block of Trae Young’s shot.

The goaltend call was challenged and eventually reversed, allowing the rebound basket by Collins, but Cuban wondered how the play could result in a basket when it was blown dead by the goaltending call.

“The Replay Center Official ruled that Collins’ goal should be scored because he was in the act of shooting at the time the goaltending call was made,” the NBA said in its statement. “Dallas contends that the officials misapplied the playing rules by allowing the basket.

“After a comprehensive investigation, commissioner Silver determined there was no misapplication of the playing rules. The Replay Center Official correctly understood the rules to require that Collins’ basket count if he was in the act of shooting when the goaltending call was made.”

The investigation, including analysis of the game video, instead showed the whistle began to sound 1/15th of a second before Collins took possession of the ball.

“However, it is well-established by prior NBA protest decisions that a factual determination by game officials -– including replay officials –- that is shown in a post-game review to be incorrect is not a misapplication of the playing rules,” the NBA ruled.

“While officials strive to get every call right, games cannot be replayed when, after the fact and free from the need to make rulings in real time, a different judgment about events on the playing floor can be made.”

– Cuban: ‘This is absurd’ –
Cuban confronted the referees on the court after the game and ripped them over the call to reporters and in a series of tweets.

“Just when you think the NBA officiating can’t get any worse, guess again. This is absurd,” Cuban tweeted.

“They literally blew the whistle that it was a goaltend. There was a putback after the whistle. After review they said no goaltend but count the basket? WTF is that? That’s NBA officiating.

The NBA called Cuban’s tweets “comments that were highly critical, personal and demeaning to the league and its officiating staff” and noted several days of complaints about NBA referees followed by Cuban.

“A team owner’s effort to influence refereeing decisions during and after a game creates the perception of an unfair competitive advantage and thereby undermines the integrity of the game.”

“Officiating is one of the toughest jobs in sports. While officials remain accountable for their on-court performance, maintaining competitive fairness and the integrity of the game is a fundamental obligation of the league office, team owners and personnel and players.”